Hors D’Oeuvres in the Devil’s Den

On an unseasonably warm April evening at the Four Seasons restaurant—not to be confused with the hotel five blocks north—a bastion of old media congregated to celebrate the release of Vicky Ward‘s debut novel, The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers. In her revealing roman à clef, the Cambridge-bred beauty chronicles the demise of the ill-fated investment bank by detailing the most intimate facets of its leaders’ lives; exposing how the professional became personal while blithely guiding the ship into the eye of the storm.

Like the storm-struck waves Lehmanites failed to avoid, Ms. Ward’s dress was a pale, sculptural affair; a feast of jutting peaks of brocade meringue, making it difficult for well-wishing guests to pose for photographs with the Marchesa-clad authoress. Standing with Lehman vet Robert Shapiro, the Vanity Fair–er exclaimed, “This man is in the book! I see a lot of the Lehman guys are here, I’m so touched they came!”

“Well, you know us Lehman guys, we run in packs,” Mr. Shapiro softly noted before asking, “so, what was it like being with Imus?”

“You know, he wrote me the loveliest note after I went on the show; it said, ‘Dear Vicky, your book is amazing and you are gorgeous, what a winning combination!’ And it was on beautiful stationary, with beautiful handwriting”—beautiful is stretched and over-enunciated in that singluar Oxbridge lilt.

Packed like silk-stocking sardines, such a group of high-powered literati are not in the habit of wheedling through so thick a crowd.

Ronald Perelman, wearing a weather-unwise cashmere sweater vest under his pinstriped blazer, chatted with perennially chic Louise Grunwald before saying hello to publicist czar Peggy Siegel.

In a ruched amethyst sheath, Patricia Duff steered clear of her volcanic ex-husband, whose gleaming head was fortunately easily spotted in the crowd. Ms. Duff posed with pundit Monica Crowley while famed photog Patrick McMullan squatted and swayed snapping their photograph and gamely suggesting the two blondes start a TV show together. “We’ve actually talked about it!” they giggled in unison.

Details editor Dan Peres arrived with actress Sarah Wynter and completed a quick tour before heading back down the stairs. “They had another event,” a bystander sympathetically whispered to the Transom. Graydon Carter arrived blustery-haired with wife Anna to well-wish his monthly’s latest hardcover hero.

Ken Auletta, who with Greed and Glory on Wall Street wro the unofficial prequel to Ms. Ward’s tell-all, told the Transom, “I wrote a blurb for the back of the book, so I must like it, right! No, seriously, I really loved the book, she’s done an amazing job creating characters you empathize with.”

“I started the book on my flight over from Washington and I can’t wait to finish it on my flight to L.A.,” bloggess Arianna Huffington told the Transom of her Huffington Post contributor’s best seller.

Before leaving, Steve Rattner asked financier Jeffrey Leeds, “Wait, who’s on the back of the book?” before flipping his copy over to peruse the back cover.

Grey Gardens producer Rachael Horovitz noted “the abundance of Fracas at this party,” not to be confused, of course, with an abundance of Farkas, two of whom, Jonathan and wife Somers, lingered nearby.


  Hors D’Oeuvres in the Devil’s Den